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Trade Deficit

Volume 885: debated on Thursday 30 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the latest balance of payments between the United Kingdom and each of the other member countries of the European Economic Community on a 12-month basis; and what would have been the equivalent amounts if the rates of exchange between sterling and the other respective currencies had remained constant as at the time of this country's accession to the Common Market.

Information on the balance of payments between the United Kingdom and the individual members of the EEC is not compiled. "Crude" trade balances can be obtained from the figures of imports cif and exports fob in Tables II and V, respectively, in the December 1974 issue of the monthly Overseas Trade Statistics—an advance copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library. The crude trade deficit—the difference between imports cif and exports fob—is not a goad measure of the balance of trade in goods because, inter alia, of differences in valuation.I am not prepared to venture estimates in reply to the second part of the Question. Our trade has been affected by a number of factors since 1st January 1973 and there is no certain way of identifying the effect of changes in exchange rates.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the percentage increase in our non-oil trade deficit between 1973 and 1974 with the other eight EEC countries, EFTA, the Commonwealth, the USA and the rest of the world, respectively.

On an overseas trade statistics basis the percentage changes between 1973 and 1974 in the "crude" trade deficits on non-oil goods with the EEC(8), EFTA, the Commonwealth and the USA were + 80, + 26, - 43 and + 394 respectively; for the rest of the world there was a surplus which increased by 134 per cent. between 1973 and 1974.